For the week of August 26 thru September 1, 1998  

Lot owners apply for annexation

Affordable housing included in proposal

Express Staff Writer

The city of Sun Valley could see its first units of affordable housing built if two property owners can convince the city to annex their land.

Doug Clemens, a land-use planner representing applicants David Watson and Bob Sherwood, presented plans to the city council on Thursday. Watson and Sherwood own a combined 34.8 acres of land on the River’s Edge Ranch subdivision, just south of Lane Ranch. The subdivision is within Sun Valley’s area of impact, and the entrance is on State Highway 75.

Under current county zoning, the land could hold about five large homes. Watson, in particular, has a higher-density vision for his land, eyeing the future hospital site across the street.

Clemens, who is also serving as a lot designer for Watson but not for Sherwood, designed Watson’s three lots to include 50 units of housing for county employees, many of whom presumably would work at the hospital.

The plan for the housing development includes 16 market-rate, ownership homes.

It also includes 34 affordable units, 12 of which would be ownership and 22 of which would be rental.

Mayor Tom Praggastis cautioned the applicant that any affordable housing built in Sun Valley should not eventually slip back to market-rate status.

"If we’re going to move on a project that has affordable housing," he said, "it should be affordable forever."

Bob Adams, who also consulted on Watson’s development proposal, said his client shared the same vision. Adams presented the applicant’s concept for affordable housing, which included a pre-qualification lottery for the units, with special emphasis given to Sun Valley employees.

Adams said there also will be conditions of qualification to be met annually during occupancy: proof of annual, full-time Blaine County employment; utility, vehicle and voter verification; annual income restrictions; and visitor, guest and roommate restrictions.

As part of the formal application process--along with design review--the city will have to consider whether or not it wants to extend its services down the highway.

The city also will have to secure the approval of one of two of the other landowners in the River’s Edge Ranch subdivision.

Two lots--one belonging to the estate of Tom Hormel and one belonging to the Idaho Foundation of Parks and Lands--currently separate Watson’s and Sherwood’s parcels from city land. Annexation requires that all parcels be contiguous to the city.

Blaine County Commissioner Len Harlig said the county cannot interfere with the annexation process, because the land is within the city’s zone of impact.


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